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Child Benefit

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what percentage of claims for child benefit made by (a) EU nationals excluding A2 and A8 nationals, (b) A2 and A8 nationals and (c) those with indefinite leave to remain took longer than 36 days to be processed since April 2008; (243402)

(2) what the average processing time was for claims for child benefit by (a) EU nationals excluding A2 and A8 nationals, (b) A2 and A8 nationals and (c) those with indefinite leave to remain in each month since April 2008;

(3) what his Department's target times are for processing child benefit claims; and what percentage of cases involving (a) the transfer of a claim from one carer to another (b) non-UK EU citizens, A2 and A8 nationals and (c) those with indefinite leave to remain were processed within those target times in the latest period for which information are available;

(4) what the average processing time was for claims for child benefit by entitled (a) non-UK EU and (b) other foreign nationals in each month since April 2008;

(5) what percentage of child benefit claims were processed within (a) five days and (b) 36 days in each month since April 2008;

(6) what the average time taken to process child benefit claims where the claim was being transferred from one carer to another was in each month since April 2008; and what percentage of claims of that type took longer than 36 days to process since April 2008.

For 2008-09, HM Revenue and Customs aim to pay 69 per cent. of child benefit claims in nine working days and aim to pay all new child benefit claims in an average of 20 calendar days. This is the first year that this target has been in place. Performance outturn for 2008-09 will be published in due course.

More complex claims, including those from customers arriving from abroad, often require HMRC to make more detailed inquiries, and so HMRC are normally unable to process and pay them within the usual target times. The HMRC Helpline can provide advice about expected waiting times to customers chasing progress of their claims

Information on the number of claims processed in 36 days, since April 2008, is not available and I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) on 22 October 2008, Official Report, column 356W.

The other information requested relating to non-UK citizens would be available only at disproportionate cost.